WARRINGTON — A primary school teacher was featured in a recent BBC video as she gave an assignment to six-year-old children to write a love letter from a prince to his male servant, convincing him to “marry” him. The controversial assignment has received mixed reaction from viewers, as some support the idea and others find it wrong to present such concepts to impressionable minds.
The video, posted to the BBC’s social media page on Sept. 18, features Sarah Hopson of Bewsey Lodge Primary School in Warrington, as she explains to the children that she wants them to write the love letter as if they were the prince.
“You’re Prince Henry. You’re going to tell Thomas why it’s a brilliant idea for him to marry you,” she explains to the students.
The video shows the children sitting at their desk with lined paper bordered with hearts, writing “Dear Thomas” letters.
“They’re going to go out into that world and find this diversity around them, and they’ll find that at a young age as well,” Hopson told the outlet. “The more they can be accepting at this age, you’re not going to face it further on because the children will be accepting now, and will be accepting this diversity around them.”
The assignment was, according to all indications, based on the Pop ‘n’ Olly book “Prince Henry,” released in 2015. The story was also made into a video entitled “A Gay Fairytale for Kids.”
In the tale, Henry becomes close friends with his servant, Thomas, as they had similar interests and would have fun together. One day, Henry’s parents decide that it is time for their son to marry and send out invitations to any who might wish to be considered as a prospective partner. Henry turns down all the princes and princesses in the land, and states that he rather wishes to “marry” Thomas.
His father tells him that such is against the law, since Thomas is Henry’s poor servant and not a prince. Henry announces that he does not wish to be a prince if he cannot “marry” the person of his choice, and argues that all men are equal, whether rich or poor. His speech convinces his father, who then rips up the law. The two later “marry.”
Reaction to the BBC video featuring Hopson’s assignment based on the story has been mixed.
“Sad this has to be taught to override the teachings of bigoted parents,” one commenter wrote.
“This is awesome! I love that this school is so open! I taught lessons like this in my 7 years as a primary school teacher,” another remarked.
“Children at 6 years of age would marry their dog or favorite toy if asked; it’s not even in their spectrum of priorities. Why would you even have to teach them or pointedly direct them into any sort of relationship?” a third asked.
“This seems awfully like brainwashing about sexuality at far too young an age,” another stated.
“I’m more thankful everyday for private schools and homeschooling,” one said.
The late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) once exhorted, “[I]t is never too soon to strive and pray for the salvation of the souls of children–never too soon to speak to them as moral beings, and tell them of God, Christ, right and wrong. The devil, we may be quite sure, loses no time in endeavoring to influence the minds of young people. He begins with them even from childhood. Let us work hard to counteract him.”